Lopez Tops Girls Division, Wins Back-to-Back Mayakoba Junior Golf Classics
Grimes overcomes three-stroke deficit to claim third AJGA title
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Quintana Roo, Mexico — Mexico City's Gabriela Lopez carded an even-par 71 Thursday at El Camaleón to win the Girls Division by two shots and claim her second straight victory at the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic. Patrick Grimes of Palo Alto, Calif., shot a 2-over-par 73 to claim the victory in the Boys Division.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic was a 54-hole, stroke play event held at El Camaleón Golf Club. The field consisted of 70 players, of which 33 were from Mexico. The rest came from eight U.S. states, Spain, Guatemala and England.
Lopez, ranked No. 47 in the Polo Golf Rankings, trailed by two strokes at the beginning of the final round, but with steady play was able to climb to the top of leaderboard. With her win, Lopez became the first back-to-back winner of the event, and remains the only Mexican champion in the tournament's history.
“It feels really good to win because I can put Mexico's name on the top of this tournament,” Lopez said.
In second was Fernanda Villegas of Chula Vista, Calif., who carded a tournament total of 14-over-par 227. Finishing in a tie for third were Frida Castillo of Cordoba, Mexico, and Maria del Mar Saavedra of Las Arboledas, Mexico, each with a tournament total of 17-over-par 230.
Grimes, who won two AJGA events in the 2008 season, began the day with a three-stroke deficit, but fought back to claim the victory. The California native expressed his excitement over the win in Mexico, saying it is special event.
“I love being here and playing this course,” Grimes said. “To win in another country is very meaningful, especially with it being a PGA TOUR course. It's a great test of golf.”
In second was first- and second-round leader Kevin Jorden of Juno Beach, Fla., who shot 7-over-par 220. Following Jorden was Will Davenport of Palm City, Fla., with a 11-over-par 224, and Matthew Fliss of Bellflower, Calif., with a 14-over-par. Rounding out the top five was Sarosh Adi of Frisco, Texas and Jeffrey Meltzer of Bradenton, Fla., with a 15-over-par 228.
The American Junior Golf Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. The AJGA provides valuable exposure for college golf scholarships, and has an annual junior membership (boys and girls ages 12-18) of approximately 5,000 junior golfers from 49 states and 30 countries. To ensure scholarship opportunities for all junior golfers who have the skill, the AJGA created the Achieving Competitive Excellence (ACE) Grant program to provide financial assistance to young players in need.
Titleist, the AJGA's National Sponsor, has been the catalyst and driving force behind the Association's success since 1989. Rolex Watch USA, which is in its third decade of AJGA support, became the inaugural AJGA Premier Partner in 2004. In 2007, after 12 years of support, Polo Ralph Lauren became the AJGA's second Premier Partner.
AJGA alumni have risen to the top of amateur, collegiate and professional golf. Former AJGA juniors have compiled more than 400 victories on the PGA and LPGA Tours. AJGA alumni include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stewart Cink, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel.
For more information on the Mayakoba Junior Golf Classic, please contact AJGA National Headquarters at (770) 868-4200.